Communicating about the Internet…and (of) Things like that

Last Wednesday, I had the opportunity to attend a very stimulating evening entitled, ‘Digitally Connected’ hosted by Network Cork and IT Cork at the Clarion Hotel. It was a very informative evening which highlighted opportunities and risks associated with the exponential growth of the internet, particularly as it becomes closer and closer to our lives. Denis Canty spoke about how this growth had driven an increase in collaboration across organisations, and that one feature of this growth, was that more and more technology people are now entering the boardroom.

As I mulled this over later that evening, it got me thinking about the challenges of communicating IT terminology and concepts to non, or less, digitally connected folk. One powerful tool demonstrated that evening was the use of visual tools to represent concepts, as aptly illustrated by Think Visual in explaining ‘the Internet of Things’.

But this doesn’t lessen the crucial role that effective spoken communication has, be it face to face, via video conferencing, or over the phone. When we are an expert in a field, we become so intimately connected to it, that it can be hard to step back and notice how much is not familiar to non-specialists. This is of relevance to all professions, be they IT consultants, engineers, accountants, lawyers, psychologist…and not to be left off the list…speech and language therapists! As an aside, I greatly commend all of Wednesday’s speakers for not only limiting technical jargon, but also acknowledging and giving explanations when they did.

So, with technology experts moving into the boardroom, there are greater challenges for all parties to be able to communicate effectively. What’s required then? Well, it comes down to some basics, and I thought I’d share a fabulous Ted Talk by Melissa Marshall entitled, ‘Talk nerdy to me,’ in which in under 5 minutes, she encapsulates key tips to help scientists communicate with non-scientists. I’d suggest substitute scientist with your own job title. In essence she highlighted the importance of avoiding jargon, avoiding death by bullet points and speaking with passion, all of which she managed to sum up in an equation…but this overview doesn’t do it justice. Watch it for yourself!

Linda Coyle provides Voice Capitalisation Training, to help you to speak with impact. Services offered include one to one coaching and bespoke training for companies or organisations. For more information, contact me

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